Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Go, Sell All That You Have…


…and give to the poor, if I recall correctly. Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler.

Well, I wrestle with that, you know. I veer between thinking it was Jesus’ advice to a specific person, not applicable to all Christians except in the broader sense that we need to get rid of the things that come between us and God, and thinking that He really, literally meant that each one of us should abandon personal possessions and live in holy poverty.

Obviously, I’m a long way from doing that. And just in case you needed proof, we had this yard sale on Sunday.

I really feel my blog is handicapped without my camera, because I’d like to show you the yard sale, but instead I just have to tell you that we hauled BOXES OF JUNK out of the house for what seemed like hours … outgrown clothes, outgrown toys, books, videos, cassette tapes (like anyone wants those). The plan was that we were going to try to sell a small portion of what we have, and give to the poor.

Which we did.  We weren’t rushed-off-our-feet busy, but people came by all day and bought stuff, and the rain held off, and we made $120 for our WorldVision project (by the way, notice how I’ve cunningly put a link to the project in my sidebar??).  Then I loaded everything we didn’t sell into the van and brought it to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, where they received it gratefully.  So one way and another, whether in money or in kind, we gave to the poor.

The only problem is that our house is STILL FULL OF STUFF.  Despite having ruthlessly culled so much out, there’s still so much there. 

No matter how I interpret the story of the rich young ruler, it challenges me — to have less stuff, to be less attached to my stuff, to do more for people who don’t have stuff.

But it’s so hard getting rid of the stuff.

10 thoughts on “Go, Sell All That You Have…

  1. I feel your pain. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided to declutter, hauling away many garbage bags of shtuff (intentional misspelling) and selling off other shtuff to become someone else’s clutter problem. It seems to be a never ending process around my house. When I get serious about it, I have a general rule that if I haven’t seen it or used it in a year… it’s toast.

    Unlike you, though, I don’t have a spiritual struggle with having while others have not. I’m not guilt ridden with having material possessions. But sometimes I wish I were. I’d have whole lot more money and I’d move a little more freely around the cubby holes of my home.

  2. Sounds like a good yard sale – and good progress on the family projects!

    I am struggling with my material posessions as well. I find comfort from having “my things” around me, but at the same time, I yearn for open space and bare spots on shelves!

    I think I’ll go home and try to cull some books and clothes!

  3. I think, quite apart from the morality of having a lot of stuff, that a clean, clutter-free space is so much more soothing and inspiring … I just can’t EVER seem to achieve that!!

  4. i find that i’m trying to acquire less “stuff.” mostly it’s an attempt to A. live in a 1 bedroom apartment with a husband and baby, and B. afford to stay home with my son. but the more i’ve been thinking about it, the more i wonder how right it is to be constantly acquiring while i have family overseas who think our one bedroom rented apartment is lavishly wealthy! helps me keep what’s important in perspective, i suppose…

  5. Good post. I share your struggle.

  6. Mmmm…easy words to say, hard words to live. I just finished writing a unit on giving for the NAD resource and I used this text as an example of the old adage ‘where you put your treasure, there your heart is also’. It was a great exercise for me to look at the biblical model for giving…and a bit embarrassing as well. In this consumer-driven world we live in it’s very easy to get swept along with it. I would love to declutter my life some more…unfortunately I have a hoarder for a husband who will go through and ‘rescue’ things that he thinks we might need ‘one day’. I would love to simplify my life some more though…and good on you for supporting such a great cause!

  7. Oh yes, my husband has that same belief: “Don’t throw that out, we might be able to use that for …”

    “For what, exactly?” is my usual comeback.

  8. And then in Acts when everyone starts selling their possessions and sharing everything…

    Like you said, it’s a challenge to reconcile it with today’s world. I’m glad I no longer have to try any more 😀

    But on a human level, I think it’s cool what you did/are doing.

  9. Actually I think the Acts way is the only way “holy poverty” would work in any society … you’d have to find a bunch of people with a shared vision who wanted to live communally and share all their possessions in common. And frankly, I have not found those people yet … so we’re stuck with our stuff for now. Still trying to clear more of it out though!

  10. Hi Trudy,
    I respect you immensely for doing this kindness for others in need.
    As someone who has experienced poverty both as a child and an adult, the tiny bit you do is in fact very large. If you find yourself with a surplus of things again, there are some women and children at Iris Kirby who would be delighted to receive them. When you are rebuilding your life after trauma, those things are the foundation of a normal life. I know this only too well.

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